Eat. Eat some more.

Eat.  Share.
Eat some more.

A Vegetarian Risotto for the Real World

(What's this?) Click on this "star" to bookmark your favourite food stories. To view the stories you have bookmarked, simply go to your account dashboard, and click on the "My Bookmarked Stories" link.
March 21, 2015 / Italian / By
Anna

A month or two back, I posted a description of a smoky duck and porcini risotto and then last month, I wrote about the town of Norcia, the cured pig-meat heart of Italy. These stories might have been just a bit too meaty for our non-carnivorous globe-eaters, so here’s a totally vegetarian recipe - a delicious leek and cauliflower risotto, along with a few tips and shortcuts that make the job a lot easier, but which don’t compromise the integrity of the dish at all.


Making a great risotto isn’t a black art, although some foodie magazines I’ve seen would certainly make it seem so. The lengthy preparation rituals, the list of difficult to source, just-so ingredients and of course the gorgeous professional photos of the finished product can make our more earth-bound efforts seem just a little underwhelming. Well come on now. A risotto is a simple, peasant dish that any Italian can whip up in 30 minutes, 40 at the outside if you count the ingredient preparation time. The real key to a great risotto is fresh, locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients. So this is a tasty, autumnal, vegetarian risotto and the cooking instructions incorporate a few dodges and tricks that I’ve seen Italians use and believe me, they make the job easier and don’t lessen the integrity of the finished result one little bit.

 Ingredients:

  • 450 grams of chopped cauliflower: small pieces are better than big ones
  • 1 onion chopped/diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped/diced
  • 1 leek, finely sliced/diced
  • 400-450 grams of arborio or carnaroli rice
  • 150-200 gms of any suitable cheese - parmesan / tallegio / peccorino
  • 100 grams of finely chopped nuts (roasted or unroasted)
  • olive oil/butter
  • salt & pepper
  • vegetable stock - about 2 litres, but see tricky dodge in the cooking instructions below.
  • four or five large sage leaves

 Cooking instructions:

  • Boil some water and keep it on hand; an electric kettle full will do fine.
  • Heat a couple of table spoons of olive oil in a pan and fry the sage leaves; don’t let the oil get too hot. Remove the sage leaves with tongs and place on a paper towel for later.
  • Now fry the cauliflower. Add more olive oil if needed. Again, watch the heat; when it’s just beginning to turn lightly brown, it’s about right. Remove (with the tongs) and set aside for later.
  • Gently sweat the onions, garlic and leak. Sweat means low heat; if the onions are starting to go brown at the ends, it’s too hot.
  • After about 10 minutes (that’s roughly how long a good “sweating” will take, add a knob of butter, then add the rice and swirl all the ingredients in the pan together so the rice gets coated with the oil / butter mix. 
  • now add the wine and stir. Here comes the time saver: you could begin adding liquid stock ladle by ladle….or you could just toss a good quality stock cube in, and add some of your boiled water. I’ve done it the hard way - made my own stock from vegetables, the medium easy way - bought good quality ready-made liquid stock from the supermarket and finally, the dead-easy way, which is to add the stock cube and frankly, I can’ t detect any noticeable difference. It’s also what my Italian friends do, so don’t think this is some spurious fast-food dodge. 
  • Add the cauliflower to the mix and keep gently stirring from time to time while adding the hot water as needed to keep everything moist. Think “porridge-like” for consistency.
  • 20 minutes maximum should see it done. Add your finely grated chess at around the 17-18 minute point. Stir quite vigorously for this last couple of minutes - this apparently is what really releases the starch from the rice and gives a good risotto that really creamy texture.
  • Plate up; garnish with the finely chopped nuts (use a food processor chopper) and the fried sage leaves. Drizzle a little olive oil over the risotto and serve.

A note about salt and pepper: most recipes call for it, but I don’t use salt at all, though of course, I make it available on the table. This a little outrageous, but I'm health conscious. While the onions, garlic and leek are sweating, I use a wooden spoon to make a space on the bottom of the pan, grind the pepper onto this, let it cook for 30 seconds or so then blend it in with the vegetables. I don’t really know whether it makes that much of a difference, but I just love the smell released by the pepper as it begins to fry on the base of the pan.

N/A

Country: Italy

Province/State: Umbria

City: Bevagna

Address: N/A

Zip/Post Code: 06031

Location Tips: N/A

Phone: N/A

Website:N/A

Price Guide:N/A (What's this?) N/A = home cooked meal,etc
$ = street food, fast food,etc
$$ = bistro, cafe, pub, bar,etc
$$$ = fine dining,etc

Comment
Related Stories

Plant-Based Protein For Meatless Days

International / By
ETG - Food For Thought

Travel Destinations - A Foodie's Guide P...

International / By
ETG - Food For Thought

Ethnic Spices And Condiments - The Best ...

International / By
ETG - Food For Thought

A Foodie Guide To Barcelona's Best Catal...

Spanish / By
ETG - Food For Thought

15 Delicious Summer Salads

International / By
ETG - Food For Thought

AS SEEN ON

ABC Nine Com 6PR
Copyright © 2012-2017 Eat the Globe™ - All rights reserved

Related Stories

Plant-Based Protein For Meatless Days

International / By
ETG - Food For Thought

Travel Destinations - A Foodie's Guide P...

International / By
ETG - Food For Thought

Ethnic Spices And Condiments - The Best ...

International / By
ETG - Food For Thought

A Foodie Guide To Barcelona's Best Catal...

Spanish / By
ETG - Food For Thought

15 Delicious Summer Salads

International / By
ETG - Food For Thought

AS SEEN ON

Copyright © 2012-2017 Eat the Globe™ - All rights reserved
Login to Eat The Globe
Username
Password
   Cancel
Close
Your profile is incomplete.
Simply complete your profile, it only takes 1 minute.
Button
Email this story to a friend
Close
Invalid Email format
Send Friend Request to this person
Close
Invalid Email format
Your Friend Request has been sent.